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‘Mbappe used to watch me, now I watch him!’ -Eden Hazard praise rival ahead of World Cup semi-final



The Chelsea and PSG stars will both be vying for a place in the final on Tuesday – as will Hazard’s Blues team-mate N’Golo Kante
Eden Hazard has admitted he is a great admirer of France rival Kylian Mbappe as he prepares to face Les Bleus with Belgium in the World Cup semi-final.

The Chelsea man played a starring role in his nation’s shock 2-1 win over Brazil on Friday that took them to the last four.

France and Mbappe already lay in wait, having dispatched Uruguay 2-0 in the day’s earlier kick-off to book their own spot in the semis .

And while the Paris Saint-Germain wonderkid did not repeat his stellar performance that put Argentina to the sword in the last 16, Hazard is still wary of his impact.

“Mbappe? I have spoken to him on the phone quite a few times,” the Belgium playmaker explained to BeIn Sport.

“He watched footage of me when he was a kid. Now I watch footage of him! I have mad respect for what he does at his age. In modern football, it’s unheard of.”

Hazard is also wary of one of his Chelsea team-mates, whom he believes has no equal as a holding midfielder.

“I play all year with [N’Golo Kante. He is the best in the world in his position,” he added.

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“When he is at his best, you have a 95 per cent chance to win the game.”

And despite the rivalry between the two neighbouring nations, Hazard confessed that France’s previous World Cup-winning side made a big impact on him as a youngster.

“I grew up with 1998. We were maybe more France fans than Belgium at the time,” he recalled.

France and Belgium lock horns on Tuesday, with the winner going on to play England or Croatia in the World Cup final.